Saturday, April 22, 2017

Water Line Repaired!

Back in January, the water district sent me a letter saying they had identified a leak in my city water line, and that I needed to fix the leak immediately, or my water would be shut off on February 11. Standing on the rise to the west of the JayBee, I could see hundreds of feet into the woods to where the leak was.


I could not imagine that I would be able to find someone who could get equipment into the woods to fix this problem in the middle of winter...

Many inches of snow later, after negotiating with and updating the water district multiple times, and after early spring had finally melted the snow...

I had a plan for fixing the water line. First, I needed to cut a path through the trees for an excavator to make its way in to the leak.

From down in the valley, looking back at the house...


There is a LOT of water running through the valley in multiple streams, especially this time of year.




Both George and Bear came through the woods with me. George quickly found a cushy pile of leaves, curled up, and fell asleep. Bear spent more time hanging out with me.



Here's the leak identified by the water district with some blue flags. It doesn't show in the photo, but there is quite a stream of water running down the hill--and it has eroded a deep trench in the hillside.



Above the leak, it is hundreds of feet to the upper road where the excavator would need to travel. I spent hours clearing a path...




Finally, fix day arrived. Walking the repair guys through the woods in to where the leak was, we startled a family of six deer. They bounded away too quickly to get a photo. Here is the excavator at the site of the leak.


After the excavator found the leak and the pipe was cut for the fix...


Hours later--after two trips for more parts, and coordinating with the water district for water shut off and on--the excavator filled in the hole and left.


Unfortunately, below the fix, there is still a long, deep trench that I should fill in to protect the water line from freezing in future winters. I mentioned my concern about this to the guy doing the repair, but he really didn't want to deal with it. I guess I have some heavy-duty shoveling in my future!



My biggest concern about this project was my worry that, once the water was turned back on after the fix, the plumbing in my old house (the one I want to tear down) would burst left and right from the increase in water pressure. (After I did work on the water line in 2004, the water pressure rose above 100 psi and the shower head blew off!) Luckily, this time, no plumbing has burst in the house (yet). A couple of the fixtures act a bit stressed with the high water pressure (even though I have to say that taking a high-pressure shower is quite nice) but, so far, they are holding.

It is exciting to have a repaired water line and to know that I will have great water supply for the JayBee!

In other spring news...

George on a walk with me along the river.


There is so much water in the river right now, with all the spring run-off, that it can be hard to see the difference between high and low tide. In the photo below, it is an hour and a half before high tide, but the gully between the road and the river is filling up with water.




The spring flood tides pick up all kinds of debris. Below, near the near shore is a huge tree floating down the river.


This can't be good. Directly in front of my house along the railroad tracks is a cement box. It always had a metal lid secured on it, and I assumed it held stuff related to the railroad crossing of the road a short ways away. Recently, the lid suddenly went missing. Who does this stuff? Vandalize things for no reason. Was it really enough metal to salvage for money? Anyway, I peered in the box the other day. Old batteries submerged in water. This cannot be good.


New Adventure to Follow

Many of my followers know that my son hiked the Appalachian Trail twice--in 2012 and 2014. This year, he is embarking on a new adventure--hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. He has a permit to begin hiking on April 30. He has a 6-month leave from his job, has his ticket to fly out to the trailhead, has all of his gear, and he's busily dehydrating food. I dehydrated, assembled, and vacuum-packed 40 meals for him to pack into his supply shipments. Also, he has cut his hair and beard--both of which will be quite long by the time he's done!

Sporting his pre-hike look, here is Arlen holding (not strangling, even though it may look like it!) brand-new kitty Jill, who will be old enough to move into her new household in June.


Anyone who would like to follow along with Arlen's hike...
Arlen's Adventures blog
Pacific Crest Trail Overview Map--Part 1
Pacific Crest Trail Overview Map--Part 2
Pacific Crest Trail sectional hiking maps

Monday, April 3, 2017

Progress Amidst the Snow

And the snow keeps on coming!

This was Saturday. Snowed all day. [To you-know-who who plans to leave Hawaii and return to Maine this month: Are you sure you want to come back to this?]


Even with the snow, I kept busy with JayBee projects. I have these stainless steel racks I'm going to use to help me store plates. I decided I didn't want them to be shiny.


So I applied oil-rubbed bronze paint to them.


Remember this cabinet?


I was worried I was going to ruin it as I moved around the JayBee installing insulation, so I took it inside the house. I drilled a couple of extra holes for cables, and I started painting.


The beadboard in the back of the cabinet is now painted barn red. I love milk paint and no-VOC finish!


Most of the new snow melted on Sunday. It may not be easy to see all of the ducks that are out on the river in this shot...


All of those white dots stretched out in a line are ducks.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Insulation Progess

The east end wall is now insulated.




Then I moved on to the north living room wall.




Even though winter persists (I took this next photo at the start of Friday's all-day snowstorm)...


... the river has completely opened up. The geese and ducks are returning...so spring will arrive someday.


Anyone want to bet how long it takes before I can open this shop door again? It is iced in, and the sun never hits it, so it could be awhile.


George drinking yucky water again.



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Momentum is Everything

After taking a lot of time off from intense house building, I sure had a hard time getting back in the swing. I was getting house-related things done--like making decisions about and purchasing various hardware pieces, and designing storage cabinets for the kitchen and bathroom--but I call those things "dubbing around" or "dancing around the edges." When I would go out to the JayBee to work, I just could not get on a roll. I did spend more hours than I would ever care to admit endlessly bending staples over...


...but, other than that, I kept finding myself staring at and pondering various conundrums, and never actually getting down to making decisions and acting on them. Then, I would give up and leave things for another day. No flow, no momentum.

While I was bending over the staples on this wall of the closet at the head of the bed the other day...


...it occurred to me that I could insulate this wall. On the other (west) end of the house, I keep getting derailed from making progress because I think I need to install more framing supports for hanging cabinets and such. At this (east) end, however, I don't have any of these questions. Nothing to keep me from charging ahead.

When I went into the portable garage to grab insulation I had stored there, this is what I saw. Hmpf! Maybe this photo doesn't quite capture it, but what I saw was a cat bed! Clearly someone found sleeping curled up on top of this insulation to be a warm bed during the winter. Wouldn't be my choice--to have my cats get bits of insulation embedded in their fur...


Finally! I found my flow. Here is the closet wall all insulated.



Then I moved on to the wall at the foot of the bed.




It feels good to be on a roll. Momentum is everything.


Winter continues here. Yes, we had another blizzard last week. I was so discouraged by it, so done with shoveling snow, I didn't even take any pictures.

The river has been confused. Due to this winter's roller-coaster temperatures, the river thawed, then re-froze, then opened up, then froze over again--back and forth for weeks.



Recent animal encounters:

1. Just as I was crawling into bed two nights ago, the house filled with a strong skunk smell. Yuck. Even though it made me slightly nauseous, I managed to fall asleep--while wondering if either cat may have just been sprayed (since both of them chose to spend that night outside). When I got up yesterday, I no longer smelled any skunk smell in the house and, thankfully, when the cats came inside, neither had been sprayed. When I went out to work on the JayBee, though, the tiny house was filled with skunk smell! I'm guessing the skunk sprayed underneath the JayBee, and the smell moved into the house through all the vents. Disgusting. I could still smell it out there today, but it is slowly dissipating.

2. This morning, Bear was curled up asleep next to my head in bed. A bald eagle started screeching overhead just outside the bedroom window. Bear startled awake and became really uneasy as the eagle kept circling and screeching. Not sure what it was all about, but it went on for quite awhile... and, then, was sporadically repeated throughout the day.

3. While installing insulation in the JayBee today, I was surprised to look up and see that the JayBee was surrounded by turkeys. They must have caught sight of me scurrying around inside to find my phone. They're so skittish! By the time I took a photo, they had run all the way down the driveway.


I took this picture of George drinking snow-melt water in the driveway. Disgusting! With all the salt-briny stuff they coat on the roads and that runs off my car... This cannot be good for him.


One morning as I was ready to head to work, I was outside calling George. It was bitter cold and I didn't want to leave him outside all day. Then I spotted him huddled down in one of his favorite spots on the hillside behind the JayBee.


Oops--nope! It wasn't George. I have no idea who this cat is. Never saw him before.